Poetry Sunday: Bless Their Hearts by Richard Newman

"Bless his heart!" It's a phrase that is well known in the South, something we all grow up with. It is understood that you can say anything negative that you want to about a person, as long as you add "Bless his heart!" The magic phrase absolves you.

Imagine my delight then when I ran across this poem last week. I laughed out loud as I read. It just gave me one more thing to be thankful for.

Richard Newman - bless his heart!

Bless Their Hearts

by Richard Newman

At Steak ‘n Shake I learned that if you add 
“Bless their hearts” after their names, you can say 
whatever you want about them and it’s OK. 
My son, bless his heart, is an idiot, 
she said. He rents storage space for his kids’ 
toys—they’re only one and three years old! 
I said, my father, bless his heart, has turned 
into a sentimental old fool. He gets 
weepy when he hears my daughter’s greeting 
on our voice mail. Before our Steakburgers came 
someone else blessed her office mate’s heart, 
then, as an afterthought, the jealous hearts 
of the entire anthropology department. 
We bestowed blessings on many a heart 
that day. I even blessed my ex-wife’s heart. 
Our waiter, bless his heart, would not be getting 
much tip, for which, no doubt, he’d bless our hearts. 
In a week it would be Thanksgiving, 
and we would each sit with our respective 
families, counting our blessings and blessing 
the hearts of family members as only family 
does best. Oh, bless us all, yes, bless us, please
bless us and bless our crummy little hearts.


  1. So snarky. Did Southerners create snark?

  2. Wow, I laughed out loud as well. ;-)

    1. We all need to laugh more. It is good for what ails us.

  3. Having lived in the South for several years when I was younger...yes, well, bless your heart!

    1. It's a phrase that has certainly come in handy for me over the years!


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